Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Monday 30 May 2022

Canal Zander - The Hallowed II Chronicles Pt.6

One of the biggest problems on the canals towpaths is other people. To the casual wanderer, with nothing better do, the angler is there for the specific purpose of being pestered, chatted up, argued with or borrowed from. Complete strangers think nothing at all of pawing, through all of his personal belongings while rabbiting on about the weather, the state of the economy, the price of fuel, or the futility of an occupation which involves sitting for eight hours drowning worms.

He is approached by screwballs, layabouts, lurkers, peeping Toms, meth drinkers, religious maniacs, vegetarians, bovver boys, and old ladies with strong views on the dreadfulness of it all. Curiously, in my own experience he is seldom approached by a beautiful nymphomaniac heiress whose old man owns a brewery.

Now no matter how far away from human habitation the angler sits, it seldom takes longer than half an hour for a speck to appear on the horizon, homing in with the unerring accuracy of a moonshot. The angler cannot get away. The very immobility which often the pursuit demands (I had a chair with me for this session 😵) makes him the perfect target and gives him no opportunity or excuse for flight. The only defences the verbal squelch. 

Most of us can think of it but only ten minutes after the interrogator has gone. The solution is to rehearse, to have the answers ready before the relationship becomes too involved. To this end, the Piscatorial Quagswagging Institute of Verbal Studies has issued a leaflet which lists the most common approachees. 

'The old boy' who remembers a time on the river that never was (not in his lifetime, anyway) when worms were tipped in by the sack full and Barbel pulled out by the hundredweight, is really too nice to be given the straight brush-off. Even though he may be talking a load of absolute codswallop, he probably believes every word, and it would be a cruelty to disabuse him. 

So you can tell him that you really regret the ‘passing of those marvellous old days, that you are after the only carp left in this canal, and that the next few minutes might see the realisation of 5 years of hoping and dreaming. 

He will understand completely and will sit down, under your direction, in the wettest, windiest, coldest and most uncomfortable place on the bank, just so that he won't be a nuisance or get in the way. After ten minutes his rheumatism and gout will start playing him up and he will suddenly remember that it’s time for his morning coffee back home. 

Am I helping ? more whenever I get bored next. 

Anyway a trip back to the Hallowed cannot be taken lightly because, boy what a variety of fish to be had and predators of Stoltman proportions. For this extended session it was out with a method feeder sleeper rod where I'd fish some pellets with an eye catching band'um wafter for the Tench and fish maggot and groundbait as the main line of attack. 

Rudd, silver bream, roach and whatever else came along on would be nice and naturally the predators wouldn't avoid my attentions and from time to time I'd swap the method feeder rod to a deadbait set-up. To be honest I wanted to try out some small floats I stumbled upon that should be more visible when fishing this much larger venue than I'm used to. 

Anyway best laid plans and all that, what a really odd session, you see when I got there the fish were biting. All silver bream mind you with the odd rudd in-between but once the boat traffic got moving the usually green canal went chocolate brown.

Not only that but the canal was moving one way and then the other. The method feeder rod as well that didn't get any bites whatsoever, not even a pluck, pull or an enquiry.

Once the canal settled down for a while bites again were forthcoming but they came in fits and starts. The tench were nowhere to be seen and oddly the bigger rudd didn't show either.

Eventually some small perch and the odd skimmer, hybrid and proper bream turned up. Nothing like the sort of weights than can be achieved here if the fish are in a feeding mood.

In the end I got a little bored with the lack of bites and decided to go on the rove to try and pick up a predator. The float was certainly a good choice as cast over to the far bank against some cover the float stood out brilliantly. 

Three sections of cover without a bite though even the predators were having an off day. But when the fish are not up for a feed there isn't a fat lot you can do. So with boats every few minutes, 1 out of 5 easing off the gas when they went by, I wasn't enjoying it and decided to call it a day.

I suppose with the schools finished for half-term much of it was holiday traffic but there was also a fuel narrowboat and what looked like a tug of some sort.

Still a few bites initially and all caught on the whip which I've really enjoyed off late. Only 75 grams in weight it's a joy to hold too, just don't Sam as it is his really. Anyway with a busy weekend on the cards where I'd struggle to get out I'm glad I made the effort to come over even if the results were not as expected. 

What I didn't expect either was to see a decent size eel drift on by as I was packing up. Not nice to see. Not a massive one but looked a metre or so long which to be honest would have certainly been a PB eel for me. 

How it died is anyones guess, but boats, otters and all manner of other predators live here as well so it could be any one of those or even natural causes I suppose. To be fair not the first dead one I've seen here, the other by some lock gates, let's hope it's a rare occurrence, anyway on to the next one. 


  1. morning mick. Great blog again. shame about the eel . could have been any of the above you mentioned. easily over 3lb at the length. .

    1. A decent fish then Nick, would have been well happy to have landed that.

  2. My favourite of the bankside wanderers is the ‘fishing expert’ - they haven’t been fishing in 10 years, or went once or twice as a kid - but they’ll sit there and impart their wisdom - then get upset when you don’t instantly follow their daft advice - “can’t help some people…”

    1. Thankfully the hallowed stretch sees less footfall and even less anglers !! but yes get where you are coming from.

  3. I think TH has been fishing a bit strange much of this year. Not badly but definitely unpredictable.
    Certainly has a weird thing of catching in almost any swim immediately and then going off very quickly. Odd.

    1. Still plenty of fish to be caught but I suppose the weather is still fairly unsettled isn't it. Even those chasing the predators have been finding the same. Very up and down, luckily for some some proper highlights !!


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